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Hippo
Asset 20

Hippo

Where to see Hippo in Botswana

The noisy territorial calls of the hippopotamus create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s wild rivers and wetlands. Despite the endearing smile, however, this heavyweight aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.


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Quick facts about Hippo

Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibius Habitat: Freshwater rivers & wetlands
IUCN status: Vulnerable Adult weight: 1,300–2,600kg

The hippopotamus leads a double life. Uniquely among Africa’s large herbivores, it spends daytime in water, where pods of up to a dozen – generally an adult male plus females and young – laze in the shallows, often showing just their heads.

By night, hippos leave the water and disperse to feed, wandering far in search of grazing. On land, they are solitary, the calves staying with their mothers.

During the dry season, as waterways shrink, pods congregate in large herds. A hippo’s rotund body, naked hide and elevated eyes and nostrils are adaptations for its aquatic lifestyle. Its huge incisors and canines serve not for feeding but for threat displays and fighting; rival bulls contest violent territorial skirmishes.


30km/h

Max. speed on land

50cm

Max. length of canines

15km

Max. nightly wanderings

68kg

Max. grass consumed nightly

The top camps for seeing hippo in Botswana

Based on 244 reports by our travellers since May 2018, visitors at these camps in Botswana have the best chances of sighting hippo.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for hippo

% of travellers who saw hippo

Top 10 camps for hippo

% of travellers who saw hippo

Where to see hippos in Africa

Hippos occur in most major rivers and wetlands across sub-Saharan Africa, their presence betrayed by their resonant calls and distinctive ‘highways’. Nervous and potentially aggressive, they always demand respect.


Top tips for viewing hippos

Large aggregations of hippos are an impressive sight on any safari. Major rivers in a suitable habitat, such as the Chobe, Zambezi, Victoria Nile and Luangwa, allow excellent viewing, while wetlands such as Botswana’s Okavango Delta have their landscapes shaped by these heavyweight herbivores, which plough channels and waterways. Elsewhere, hippos often take up residence in smaller waterholes, sometimes cramming into the smallest of mud wallows.

Boat trips in some parks allow close viewing on the water, while guided canoe trails offer more exposed, adrenalin-charged encounters. Hippos may wander past waterside lodges at night, allowing you to watch how they crop the sward with their lips and scatter their dung with a flicking tail. Always keep a safe distance.

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Our best Botswana holidays for hippo sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Botswana safaris are likely to give the best hippo sightings


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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look to Namibia including from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,630 - US$5,920 per person

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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$4,790 - US$6,650 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,440 - US$15,040 per person

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Black-footed Cat Safari

14 days • 6 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

Combine three of southern Africa's most iconic destinations in this exciting and varied safari. Discover the world's oldest desert in Namibia, seek iconic wildlife in Botswana and gaze in wonder at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

US$11,080 - US$19,510 per person

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Wild Dog Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An in-depth discovery of northern Botswana’s wilderness, from Chobe and the private Kwando Reserve to the Moremi and iconic Okavango Delta with a great variety of activities and wildlife.

US$9,180 - US$15,600 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$8,050 - US$11,010 per person

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Sable Self-drive Safari

12 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A great value southern African self-drive adventure from Namibia along the Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Zimbabwe, combining otherworldly landscapes, unforgettable wildlife spectacles, rarely visited places and ending at Victoria Falls.

US$2,860 - US$3,900 per person

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Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A wonderfully varied adventure to Botswana and Zimbabwe combining three fantastic safari areas, a luxury river cruise and the mighty Victoria Falls.

US$7,170 - US$11,560 per person

View all holidays to Botswana

More information about hippo in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about hippo in other countries, including the places for sighting hippo.


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